High Points: Delaware, New Jersey, and Connecticut

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Some high points are terribly exciting and some are sitting in the middle of a neighborhood at a T in the road, like Delaware’s Ebright Azimuth at 442 ft. Delaware’s high point seemed harder and definitely more exhausting to get to than Montana’s thanks to all the nutso east coast traffic. We left Charlottesville, Virginia just in time to hit D.C’s rush hour traffic and stayed on that parking lot interstate until we were through Baltimore. We couldn’t stand it anymore so we exited and two-laned it to just north of Wilmington which turned out to be even worse. We’re used to Montana traffic; we can’t handle all these east coast towns and cars. We drove and drove and drove and we never lost sight of Baltimore’s flight traffic. It was so discouraging and we were both dern-near insane by the time we got there, and I was already having a particularly hard day thanks to PMS.

Woopity doo, a park bench and a high point.

I managed to get out of the car and walk across the street for some photos but I went right back to the car while Greg searched for the benchmark. You can’t say you’ve summitted until you’ve found the benchmark.

Delaware is the second to last high point , not quite a hundred feet higher than Florida’s.
The official USGS benchmark. Success!
Despite my sour expression I’m always happy to help Gregory reach life goals.

The original plan was to meet my mother, my sister, and her partner in Stowe, VT the night after we left Charlottesville, but it only took about two hours on the road to know we would never get to them in time, even though they left two hours after we did. We like to “drive” about “55 mph” on the “interstate”. Unless we have someone else’s car with someone else’s gas money going into the tank, we will never keep up with anyone on a road trip. Life lesson learned.

We called the ladies to cancel our plans with them, then drove into Pennsylvania to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot and calm my frayed nerves. The next day we went to Valley Forge for brunch and lunch and a nice long bike ride which really helped clear the thunderclouds over my head. It’s no fun being a vobo (van hobo) if you’re just running around all the time. That night we drove north along the Delaware to avoid the tolls and spent the night in another Walmart parking lot in Phillipsburg on our way to NJ’s aptly named High Point State Park.

Greg is really great about doing his high point research and figuring out all the logistics, including parking and best hiking routes. State parks generally charge an entrance fee for out-of-staters, and NJ charged $10.00 per vehicle on weekdays and $20.00 on weekends, unless you walk in then it’s free. Greg found free trailhead parking a mile from the park headquarters so we set up shop and hiked to the top. We’ll always walk a mile to save $5, but $10? 20?! Forget about it; we’ll sprint for that. With the extra two miles, the total hike was 4.6 miles round trip and a real nice time.

In the east lots of high points are within a day’s drive of each other so after we hiked down from High Point we drove right to Connecticut to hit up Mt. Frissell. Connecticut’s high point is quite controversial because it’s actually just the side of a mountain whose summit resides in another state. It’s official title is “The southwestern slope of Mt. Frissell”. The controversy surrounding it is because some Connecticutans think the high point should be neighboring Bear Mountain which is 64 ft shorter, but exists completely in Connecticut. I was really hoping for some picketers at the top, but sadly we didn’t see a single other person on the hike.

We drove six miles from Salisbury, CT down a dirt road full of amazing vacation homes and didn’t get started hiking until after 6:00p. The hike was only 2.6 miles round trip and we always hike with head lamps so we weren’t too worried.

The southwest shoulder of Mt. Frissell was a short but burly little hike and a whole lot of fun. And there were lady slippers on the trail! It got darker and darker as we hiked out and of course we talked of nothing but zombies like we tend to do. Don’t worry, we survived another, and my new boots were broken in a bit more.

High points #14, 15, and 16 for the ol’ Warckens and a few more to come. Stay tuned!

 

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